Asthma is a clinical syndrome of chronic airway also in which your airways are narrow and swell and might produce extra mucus. It is characterized by recurrent obstruction in the airways. This makes breathing difficult and triggers coughing. Peoples are found to produce a whistling sound (wheezing) when they breathe out. Asthma is not a curable disease but it can be controlled up to some extent. It is so because it often changes over time, and you need to counsel your doctor to track its signs and symptoms.
Some people face minor nuisance with asthma whereas others get interferences with daily activities and may also get a life-threatening asthma attack. It is considered a long-term disease of the lungs. When a person suffers from Asthma then his airways get inflamed and narrow, and it makes it hard for him to breathe. People suffering from severe asthma may find trouble talking or being active. Some refer to asthma as “bronchial asthma” while some call it a chronic respiratory disease.
Who is at Risk to Develop Asthma?
In the most recent asthma surveys, it has been found to affect around 68 per thousand individuals. The prevalence of asthma rises when individuals are suffering from allergic conditions like eczema (atopic dermatitis), food allergies, and hay fever (allergic rhinitis). During this Covid-19 Pandemic, peoples are wearing masks and it is very difficult for asthma patients to breathe wearing masks. They are facing more complexities.
What Puts You at Risk For Developing Asthma?
- Family history- If your parent had asthma then you are three to six times more likely to develop asthma.
- Viral respiratory infections- If someone has faced respiratory problems during infancy and childhood then he can experience wheezing. However, if some children had experienced viral respiratory infections are more prone to develop chronic asthma.
- Allergies- Having an allergic condition like atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis is a prime risk factor to develop asthma.
- Occupational exposures- Exposure to certain dust whether it is industrial or wood, chemical fumes, or vapors may cause asthma for the very first time.
- Smoking- Cigarette smoking irritates the airways, thus smokers are at high risk of getting asthma disease. Pregnant women who smoke during pregnancy their infants are also exposed to get asthma. You can learn the risk of smoking on your infant during pregnancy.
- Air Pollution- Exposure to smog (ozone) also raises the risk of asthma. Peoples who grew up or live in urban areas are also more prone to asthma.
- Obesity- Adults and children who are overweight or obese are at a high risk of asthma. Obese patients who are using other medications might suffer worse symptoms and are less able to control their asthma.
What Causes Asthma?
Asthma causes lung abnormality and its basic cause is still unknown. There are lots of factors due to which someone might develop asthma such as modern lifestyles and diet, etc. Smoking during pregnancy is also responsible to increase the chances of developing asthma in your child. There is currently no evidence that proves that traffic pollution also causes asthma, but poor air quality can make your situation worse when you have asthma.
Currently, there is no such test or exam is conducted that could determine whether you or your child is suffering from asthma. Instead, there are a variety of criteria that determines the symptoms of asthma.
The following points can help you diagnose asthma:-
- Family History- In case if your any family member has suffered from asthma or breathing disorder, then you are at high risk is higher. Alert your doctor about this genetic connection.
- Physical Test- Your doctor will listen to your breathing through his stethoscope. You can also go through a skin test to check for the signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives or eczema. Allergies also increases your risk of asthma.
- Breathing Tests. Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are breathing tests conducted to measure the airflow of your lungs.
Usually, doctors don’t perform breathing tests in children who are below the age of 5 years because it’s not possible to get an accurate reading. They prescribe asthma medications to your child and examine whether the symptoms improve or not. If they improve then your child likely has asthma. For adults, the doctor might prescribe a bronchodilator or other asthma medication when required. When the symptoms improve with the use of medication, then your doctor will continue treating your asthma.
Treatment of Asthma
Usually there are three primary categories to treat asthma that are mentioned below:-
- breathing exercises
- quick treatments
- long-term asthma control medications
The breathing exercises can help you get more air pump into and out of your lungs. Over time, this will help you to increase the capacity of your down. You will be able to cut down severe asthma symptoms by doing these exercises regularly. You can easily learn these breathing exercises for asthma from a professional or a doctor or an occupational therapist.
Quick-relief Asthma Treatments
You should use the medications only in the event of asthma symptoms or attacks. You will get quick relief to breathe again properly.
- Bronchodilators- Bronchodilators work within minutes by relaxing the tightened muscles around your airwaves. You can use it as an inhaler or nebulizer.
- First aid asthma treatment- If you find someone having an asthma attack, then make him sit upright and help them using their inhaler or nebulizer. Two to six puffs of the inhaler will make them feel better. However, you must seek emergency medical attention if the symptoms persist for more than 20 minutes.
Long-term asthma control medications
The medications to control asthma could be taken daily that will help you reduce the number and severity of your asthma symptoms. Long-term asthma control medications include the following anti-inflammatories medications, anticholinergics, Long-acting bronchodilators, etc.
Since the exact cause of asthma has not been identified yet which is why it is challenging to know how to prevent the inflammatory condition. In order to prevent asthma attacks you need to follow a few strategies given below:-
- Avoid triggers – Stay away from chemicals, smells, or products that may cause breathing problems,
- Reduce Exposure to Allergens. Dust or mold triggers asthma attacks, hence avoid them as best as you can.
- Take Preventive Medication. Get the prescribed medication from your doctor.
When to see a doctor
Once you are diagnosed with asthma, you can get an appointment with your doctor once in a year or more frequently. You must call your doctor immediately if you are :
- feeling weak
- unable to perform daily activities
- wheezing or coughing
Educate yourself about your asthma condition and its symptoms. The more you will be aware of it, the more proactive you will be able to improve your lung functioning.